In a release issued today by the Belize National Teachers union, a reference was made to the certain ‘culture’ observed within the Department of Immigration. The BNTU writes, “Revelations made through the interviews and discussion held at the Senate Special Select Committee hearings, have signaled that the imbedded “culture” of the Passport, Immigration and Nationality Department has, for far too long, allowed thousands of unqualified individuals to hold Belizean Nationality”. End of quote. Former CEO, Candelaria Saldivar Morter was asked about this “culture”.
“When you came to the department, to the Ministry were you aware of a culture? You alluded this morning that there are many things that were wrong there but were you aware of a culture or scheme some scheme that was going on in the department?”
CANDELARIA SALDIVAR MORTER
“When we took over the Ministry and the Department of Immigration we were aware that there were some irregularities taking place at the immigration department and so we took some steps to try and correct some of them. Some events during the time when we were looking at changes within the department to effect those changes within the department some of those events took place which sped up some areas but on the longer run we had a plan for a complete restructuring and reform of the department. Like I mentioned it was a complete revamping of the department in terms of its processes, in terms of the internal controls, in terms of its personnel and the whole structure of the department one of the major components that were absent and like I mentioned was an in terms of putting together a computerized not only passport system but a whole computerization of the processes within the department which we felt were vital to the whole restructuring of the department and we looked all the manual that the department had and all the procedural manuals all of the policies and we looked at restructuring all of those in line with some of the legal amendments that were made to the immigration and passport and visa act. So it was a complete exercise that took place along with the director if immigration along with some of her staff, we had the Ministry of Public Service at one point in our initial meeting we had a couple CEOS to help us to guide us in terms of setting up the new structure so if the auditor general had sat with me I think that a lot of the recommendations that she made she would have seen would have been covered in our group.”
“But you said that that report was not completed.”
CANDELARIA SALDIVAR MORTER
“It was not completed but the whole concept of it was.”